Cheltenham Festival Highlights


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Day One Of The Festival

The Cheltenham festival seemed to have just came in time before Coronavirus swept around the nation and put nearly all sporting occasions and large gatherings out of business.

However, the greatest show on turf did manage to go ahead and it did not disappoint from the first race with the Supreme Novices' Hurdle throwing out a photo finish between the best of the British and the best of the Irish.

The handicaps were competitive as ever with the Ultima throwing out another nail biting finish that saw The Conditional come from the clouds to get back up and win.

The Champion Hurdle was predicted to be one of the worst for some years but in fact the winning favourite Epatante looks like a Champion Hurdle winner in the future aswell.

Willie Mullins was without a winner on the first day with his best chance Benie Des Dieux out battled by the star mare Honeysuckle for Henry De Bromhead in the Grade One Mares Hurdle.

Gordon Elliott bought the curtain down on day one with a winner in the National Hunt Chase with non other than the elusive Jamie Codd on board Ravenhill.

Day Two Of The Festival

After a superb first day the Wednesday was another action fuelled day of racing starting with the Irish banker of the week landing in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle.

Envoi Allen stalked the two leaders up the hill under a patient ride by Davy Russell to then sweep by them and take the Grade One to the delight of the punters.

It was a decent day overall for racegoers with Champ landing the race of the festival in the RSA Chase, the Nicky Henderson trained runner looked well beat jumping the last to eventually get himself going to take a superb renewal of the Grade One.

JP McManus followed that up in the Coral Cup with the well backed favourite Dame De Compagnie landing the contest at 5/1 from 10/1 on the day.

The Champion Chase was built up to be the event of the four days but before the off Altior had been removed and on vets advice the other fancied horse Chacun Pour Soi was also withdrawn.

This left Defi Du Seuil to clean up surely? However, it was not to be and the seasoned professional for Paul Nicholls Politologue took the contest.

Tiger Roll was dethroned from his Cross Country Chase throne as the new up and coming prodigy Easysland again for owner JP McManus flew away up the hill to a 17 length victory.

Willie Mullins finally got on the score sheet in a race he has dominated over the last few years with Ferny Hollow taking the Champion Bumper from Appreciate It to give the trainer as 1-2 in the race.

Day Three Of The Festival

There is a reason why the Cheltenham festival is the greatest show on turf and Thursday helped sum that up in the first race with the Marsh Novices' Hurdle.

The forgotten horse Samcro, The shining veteran of national hunt racing Faugheen and the unfortunate horse Melon, all were in with a chance jumping the last but in a head bob the super Samcro landed his first black type win over fences.

That set the day of perfectly as Sire De Berlais was superb under Barry Geraghty to land back to back renewals of the Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle.

Min landed his first Cheltenham festival winner having previously finished in behind Altior on numerous occasions but now stepped up into the Ryanair Chase he showed the best of his ability.

The shock of the festival came on Thursday with the odds on Paisley Park looking to defend his Stayers Hurdle title but it was not to be with him running an unusual race by his standards.

The Grade One was taken by the 50/1 shot Lisnagar Oscar for trainer Rebecca Curtis which should put her back on the national hunt map.

Simply The Betts bought the house down in the Brown Advisory Plate being smashed in all week only to deliver the goods and Concertista for Mullins finished second in the Mares Novices' Hurdle last season but was an emphatic winner this term.

Day Four Of The Festival

Gold Cup Day rounded off the four days as it always does with a bang, but it was not the start the punters wanted with Goshen for Gary Moore clear facing the final flight in the Triumph Hurdle only to make a blunder and fall when 10 lengths clear.

The packed stands dropped silent and it was all about recovery from there, it was a sad day for Jamie Moore who up to that point had done everything right.

It was an ideal day for Willie Mullins who managed to regain his trainers title with four winners in a row to start the day with Burning Victory picking up the pieces in the Triumph, Saint Roi landing the County Hurdle and Monkfish staying on best of the bunch in the Albert Bartlett to seal the Grade One.

This all game before Al Boum Photo became part of a very exclusive club of landing back to back Cheltenham Gold Cup's just staying on enough to keep out Santini.

It Came To Pass caused a shock in the Foxhunter Chase at 66/1 and in the final race of the day the mare Indefatigable came from the clouds to get up on the line in the Martin Pipe.


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